Low Budget Iceland

Iceland has a reputation of being an expensive travel destination, but there is plenty to explore without going overboard. With Marco Polo’s tips you are sure to have a great time on a dime! From puffins to geothermics, see what Iceland has to offer for the budget-conscious traveller:

Iceland by Sophie Boisvert

Picture credit: Sophie Boisvert, used with permission

DOWN ON THE FARM

The ruins of the 11th-century longhouse Stöng, which can be visited for free, give a vivid impression of the size and layout of farms back then. Route 32 is worth a detour on the way to the highlands.

ICELAND IN BLOOM

The Botanical Garden in Akureyri is a freely accessible, rambling site and home to all of Iceland’s native plants – plus a great many more from elsewhere. From Greenland to the Mediterranean, if it’s green and/or bears flowers, it’s here.

SCULPTURE GARDEN

Einar Jónsson was the country’s first sculptor of note, and consequently many of his works are to be found all over Iceland. You can also admire an interesting selection of them in the garden adjoining his studio, which is permanently open to visitors.

GET PALLY WITH THE PUFFINS

To see puffins really close up, you usually have to take an organised boat trip. On the steep coast at Látrabjarg the comical cliff-dwellers come up close enough for you to count the rings on their bills – for free.

WHAT’S GEOTHERMICS ALL ABOUT?

Get an answer to this question during a free visit to the geothermal power plant Hellisheiðarvirkjun. At the visitor centre, various information points with touch screens take you through the energy-generating process, and you can learn a lot about the region at the same time.

ROMANTIC SPOT FOR A DIP

The little pool at Selárdalur, which you can visit for free, has a charm all of its own. It lies on an idyllic river, and in autumn is lit up by the Northern Lights as well as candles.

 

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Low Budget Florida

Let Marco Polo show you how to visit Florida without spending a fortune…

Florida Marco Polo Guide 

 

Miami

The Jazz on South Beach: A dorm bed costs $20–35 and a room costs $50–100. On top of that, the Jazz has a club coordinator who provides guests with access to the South Beach clubs. 28 rooms | 321 Collins Ave. | Tel. 1 305 6 72 21 37 | www.jazzhostels.com

Jerry’s Famous Deli: No deli really, rather a good ol’ diner from the time of the big road cruisers. It serves over 600 dishes, mainly burgers and sandwiches, and the portions are always huge. 1450 Collins Ave. | South Beach | Tel. 1 305 5 32 80 30 | www.jerrysdeli.com

Tap Tap: Haitian cuisine amidst works of Caribbean artists in super-bright colours. The grilled chicken comes highly recommended. 819 5th St. | Miami Beach | Tel. 1 305 6 72 28 98

Miami creativity for free: Every Sunday and every second Saturday of the month there is no charge for the Miami Art Museum. This fabulous museum exhibits both established and young artists and has outstanding collections.

 

The Keys

Harriette’s Restaurant: A yellow box building with a green roof. It serves up lots of calories for little money. Pictures of local softball teams and trusty regulars hang proudly on the walls. MM 95.6 | Key Largo | Tel. 1 305 8 52 86 89

The Whale Harbour Inn: Nowhere else in Florida will you get so much seafood for only $30. Islamorada | MM 83.5 | Tel. 1 305 6 64 98 88 | whaleharborrestaurant.com

Key West Aquarium: One of the oldest aquariums in the US, which has shark and turtle basins as well as a touch pool with manta rays and crustaceans. Shark feeding happens daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. Open daily 10am–5pm | Admission $13 | 1 Whitehead St. | www.keywestaquarium.com

 

The Everglades

Bird watching: A good pair of binoculars is all you need to enjoy spotting cranes, frigate birds, swallow-tailed kites and 347 other species. Bird check lists are available from the visitor centres.

The wonders of the Everglades in black and white: In the Big Cypress Gallery, a good 18 miles east of Ochopee, landscape photographer Clyde Butcher presents the dramatic and idyllic results of his quest for timeless beauty. Free admission | Open daily 10am–5pm

 

The West Coast

City tour (nearly) for free: Well, 25 cents is as good as, no? In St. Petersburg, an old-fashioned trolleybus serves 13 stops and covers most of the city’s attractions. Park your car at St. Petersburg Pier and get aboard the yellow-painted Looper bus for a city tour. Daily 10am–5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-Midnight.

The Lazy Flamingo II: This restaurant serves oysters, mussels and shrimps and is a favourite with the locals. 1036 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel | Tel. 1 239 4 72 69 39

 

The Panhandle

City view: You can enjoy a superb view of the state and capital city from the Observatory on the 22nd floor of the New Capitol Building in Tallahassee. If the visibility is good then you can see all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Free admission | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm | 400 S Monroe St.

Panama City Beach: Loads of special offers and other discount incentives available on their Chamber of Commerce website. www.pcbeach.org

 

The East Coast

Sawgrass Mills shopping centre: Find more than 350 stores and designer outlets all under one roof. You are sure to find a bargain at the biggest mall in southern Florida! 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. | Fort Lauderdale

The Pirate House Inn: Something between a youth hostel and a guesthouse, which has beds in dorms as well as private rooms at absolutely rock bottom prices. 5 rooms, 2 dorms | 32 Treasury St. | St. Augustine | Tel. 1 904 8 08 19 99 | piratehaus.com

Lazy beach days: If you want to sunbathe or go for a cooling dip then head for Midtown Beach as it is the only public beach in town. Ocean Blvd. | Between Royal Palm Way and Gulfstream Rd.

Al’s Pizza: A popular pizza canteen with cheerful staff and delicious food. 303 Atlantic Blvd. | Tel. 1 904 2 49 00 02

 

Orlando

Theme park fun: If you’re going to visit Walt Disney World (disneyworld.disney.go.com) or Universal Studios (www.universalorlando.com) it is worth checking out this valuable information from MoneySavingExpert before you go: www.moneysavingexpert.com!

Grape’s Wine Bar & Gourmet Bistro: A choice of 120 different wines, snacks and light meals in a functional urban ambience. 9101 International Dr. | Pointe Orlando | Tel. 1 407 2 48 28 38

Ocala National Forest: An adventure park that charges no admission fee. The forest is blessed by the sun and characterised by its deep shades of green, slender palm trees, knotty oaks, sand pines and flowing rivers. Despite the fact that it is close to the entertainment capital of Orlando, you can certainly find peace and relaxation in this dense national forest. Visitors can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear springs or paddle through palm forests and observe sea eagles and even black bears. A range of outdoor activities including canoeing, cycling and walking can also be pursued here. Ocala National Forest | Ocklawaha Visitor Center | Daily 9am–5pm | Tel. 1 352 2 36 02 88 | CR 315 and SR 40 | Close to Silver Springs

 

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Low Budget Paris

Want to visit Paris on a shoestring? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips:

Paris Marco Polo Guide 

 

Free museum admission

Hard to believe, but true: many museums in Paris do not charge admission. At www.paris.fr/musees you’ll find information on museums offering free admission, among which are the Musée Carnavalet, the Maison de Victor Hugo, the perfume museum Fragonard, the Musée de la Vie Romantique and the Musée d’Art Moderne.

One of the most highly recommended is the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. The museum reopened several years ago after extensive renovations. Among the exhibits of modern art (including Pablo Picasso) you can admire Raoul Dufy’s Fée Electricité (the largest painting in the world) and La Danse by Henri Matisse, as well as a host of other masterpieces.

Stunning view from the terrace of the museum restaurant (the salads are highly recommended) over the Seine to the Eiffel Tower nearby. Opening times: Tue–Sun 10am–6pm (Thu 10pm) | Free admission (temporary exhibitions €5–11) | 11, av. du Président Wilson | 16th arr. | M 9: Iéna | www.mam.paris.fr

 

Food & Drink 

Free couscous! The Tribal Café (as well as a dozen or so other restaurants) provide a free meal on weekends. A small tip for a beverage is expected, however. The atmosphere is cosy, as though you were visiting friends. Fri/Sat couscous, Wed/Thu moules frites (mussels with chips), from 9pm. 3, cour des Petites Ecuries | 10th arr. |  Tel. 01 47 70 57 08 | M 4: Château-d’Eau

Vegetarian dishes are available at the Indian restaurant Krishna Bhavan – delicious currys from €4.50 and soups for €3. Daily | 24, rue Cail | 10th arr. | Tel. 01 42 05 78 43 | M 2: La Chapelle

Very inexpensive specialities from southwest France and the Basque region at the modest restaurant Chez Glandines in the nightlife district, Butte-aux-Cailles. Daily | 30, rue des Cinq Diamants | 13th arr. | Tel. 01 45 80 70 10 | M 6: Corvisart, M 9: Léna

 

Shopping

Belleville is the largest, cheapest and most exotic market in Paris – located in the colourful and multicultural district east of the city. Tue and Fri 7am–2.30pm | 20th arr. | M 2, 11: Melleville, M 2: Menilmontant

Second hand: designer clothing – including Kenzo, Chanel, Agnès B. – in excellent condition but requiring a bit of rummaging – can be found at Chercheminippes. 102, 109, 110, 111, rue Cherche Midi | 6th arr. | M 10: Vaneau | www.chercheminippes.com (French website – use Google translate if needed.)

 

Cheap hotel in central Paris? You got it!

One of the cheapest hotels in the centre of Paris is the Hôtel Tiquetonne. Quiet location (pedestrian precinct) in the lively quarter around Les Halles. Great value for money. 48 rooms | 6, rue Tiquetonne | 2nd arr. | Tel. 01 42 36 94 58 | M 4: Etienne Marcel | www.hoteltiquetonne.fr

 

Atmospheric organ concerts

A number of churches regularly offer free concerts. The rich sound of organ music resonating through the arches of Notre-Dame Cathedral is more than just a formidable experience – both visually and acoustically.  The free organ concert is held in Notre-Dame every Sunday at 4.30pm. www.cathedraledeparis.com

 

Free attractions with a view

For the best view of the city without paying an admission fee for the Eiffel Tower or the Tour Montparnasse, make the effort to climb the stairs of Sacré-Coeur.

The dazzling white basilica rising high above the city on Montmartre seems almost surreal, and cynics claim the domes look as if a confectioner has been having fun. The interior has a stunning giant golden Byzantine-style mosaic. The building was created as a national monument after France’s defeat by Germany in the war of 1870–71. In 1919 the pilgrimage church was dedicated to the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’. Today, thousands make the pilgrimage up the many steps and enjoy the impressive view over Paris from the church’s forecourt. Daily 6am–11pm | 35, rue du Chevalier de la Barre | 8th arr. | M 2: Anvers | www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/

 

Paris on inline skates 

Every Friday evening, nearly 20 miles of the city are closed off for avid Rollerbladers. Inline skating through Paris is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting to know Paris – if only a small part. The fun begins at 10pm between Montparnasse station and the Montparnasse tower. Gare Montparnasse | 6th arr. | M 4, 6, 12, 13: Montparnasse-Bienvenue | www.pari-roller.com (French website – use Google translate if necessary.)

 

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Low Budget Dublin

Dublin has a reputation for being expensive – and it is! However, with some forward planning and our top insider tips, you can grab lots of bargains in Ireland’s capital! Let Marco Polo show you how:

 Dublin Marco Polo Guide

Views across the city

If you want to see Dublin from above, you’ll have to pay: for the Dublin Wheel or the Chimney but the view from Howth Heath over the Dublin Bay, the mountains and many other parts of the city is free and peaceful. The short ascent begins behind the Deer Park Hotel. 84 rooms | Deer Park, Howth | Tel. 01 8 32 34 89 | DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit): Howth | www.deerpark-hotel.ie

Entertainment

The beer on the outskirts of the city may be cheaper, but in many pubs in the city centre there is also live music – without having to pay an admission fee. Good options: The Brazen Head (Bridge Street), Oliver St John Gogarty (Fleet Street) and especially Hughes’ Bar, where you can also often hear the bagpipes being played (19 Chancery St. | Luas: Four Courts).

Transport

If your feet hurt from all the sightseeing, then why not let the comfortable and eco-friendly Ecocab take you anywhere within Dublin’s city centre. The rickshaw-like tricycles are a free service, thanks to corporate sponsorship.

Strong cyclists will take you to any destination within Dublin’s city centre in modern, covered tricycles, also in a radius of about 2km/1.2 miles around the O’Connell Bridge. They ride between 10am and 7pm and have certain stops, but can also be waved down. They are sponsored by companies, so you don’t need to pay them, but a tip will be greatly appreciated. Don’t mistake the Ecocabs with the rickshaws or bicycle taxis that demand a fee! www.ecocabs.ie

Dublin Bus offers a variety of reasonably priced passes, for example the 3 day Rambler Ticket for all lines including the airport bus 747 and 748 (€13.30) or the 3 day Freedom Ticket (€26) which includes a round trip with commentary. Available at the airport and 59 Upper O’Connell Street. Insider tip: make sure you have enough change when taking the bus because the drivers don’t give change. Schedules and tickets: Dublin Bus Office | 59 Upper O’Connell St. | Tel. 01 8 73 42 22 | Mon–Sat 9am–5.30pm | www.dublinbus.ie

Museums – Free entry

National Gallery: masterpieces from all over Europe from the 14th to the 20th century. The Italian section is one of the most impressive with works by Fra Angelico, Titian and Michelangelo Caravaggio whose ‘The Taking of Christ’ is probably the most significant painting in the entire collection. Also on display are works by Spanish painters like Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso, French masters like Nicolas Poussin and the Impressionists as well as German and Dutch works like those by Emil Nolde and Peter Paul Ruben which all hang in its magnificent 19th century halls. British and Irish artists are given priority, such as portrait painters Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds as well as the most significant Irish artist of the 20th century, Jack Butler Yeats. In the new wing of the National Gallery is the popular Museum café. Mon–Sat 9.30am–5.30pm (Thu until 8.30pm), Sun midday–5.30pm | Free admission | Merrion Square West and Clare St. | Bus: Merrion Square | www.nationalgallery.ie

National Library: a magnificent building dating back to the 19th century. The ornate entrance hall staircase leads up to the large reading room with a glass roof, a colourful frieze and ceiling mouldings. The original furnishings include shelves with wood carvings and tables with green reading lamps. Mon–Sat 9.30am–5.30pm (Thu until 8.30pm), Sun midday–5.30pm | Free admission | Merrion Square West and Clare St. | Bus: Merrion Square.

National History Museum: irreverent Dubliners call it the ‘Dead Zoo’. At the entrance you are greeted by the skeletons of some of the Irish elks that lived here 10,000 years ago. The Irish Room on the ground floor is dedicated to indigenous animals, while the top floor has animals from around the world. Even after extensive renovations the museum has kept its Victorian charm – it has remained a kind of museum within a museum. Tue–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 2pm–5pm | Free admission | Merrion St. | Bus: Merrion Square West | www.museum.ie

Other outstanding Dublin facilities offering free admission: the National Museum – Archaeology, the National Museum – Decorative Arts and History, the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Hugh Lane Gallery.

eating out

Reasonably priced Chinese restaurants can be found in Dublin’s growing Chinatown on Parnell Street in the section east of Parnell Square and on Chapel Street.

Many pubs serve meals from midday until early evening, they range from soups to roast beef with all the trimmings. The portions are plentiful and the prices (by Dublin’s standards) are very reasonable. An excellent option is The Brian Boru near the Glasnevin Cemetery. 9 Prospect Road | Bus 4, 13, 19, 19a: Hart’s Corner | www.thebrianboru.ie

Market Bar: behind an unassuming façade lies one of the most stylish bars in Dublin. A café by day, a tapas bar by night or simply a hip and happening place to enjoy a glass of wine. What was once a market hall and sausage factory has been converted into an airy space with rustic benches under a high vaulted glass and iron ceiling. The lack of music – very unusual in Dublin! – means an evening of conversation and craic. The wine list includes a good selection from Spain and South America. Fade St. | Tel. 01 6 13 90 94 | Bus: South Great George’s St. | www.marketbar.ie

Gallagher’s Boxty House: favourite address for fans of the Emerald Isle’s traditional cuisine, and its comfortable traditional Irish atmosphere makes it a great place for you to discover the tastes of colcannon, coddle and boxty pancakes. The pancakes have a variety of rich and hearty fillings. 20 Temple Bar | Tel. 01 6 77 27 62 | Bus: Temple Bar | www.boxtyhouse.ie

Accommodation

If you want to be able to party and then fall straight into bed, the best place for you is the backpacker hostel Barnacles in the middle of the bustling Temple Bar district. The hostel is clean and safe and its rooms are light and quite spacious. Double rooms available from €30, in the communal rooms you pay as little as €10 a night. 1 Cecilia St. | Tel. 01 6 71 62 77 | www.barnacles.ie

Mercer Court is a student residence that rents out 100 en suite rooms to Dublin visitors during the student holidays between the end of June and September. They are cheaper than Trinity College and are often of a better standard. Centrally located near St Stephen’s Green, single rooms from €60, double rooms from €90. Booking at www.visitdublin.com, see under ‘campus accommodation’. Lower Mercer Street | Tel. 01 4 78 03 28 | Luas (Tram): St Stephen’s Green

ABC Guesthouse: a friendly reception, a generous breakfast and three clean rooms (in varying sizes) await visitors to this reasonably priced bed and breakfast in the north of Dublin. It is right on the bus route between the airport and inner city. 57 Drumcondra Road Upper | Tel. 01 8 36 74 17 | Bus from airport: 16A, 41, 746 until the Skylon Hotel stop; from the inner city there are plenty of bus routes, e.g. 3, 16, 41 | www.abchousedublin.com

Isaac’s Hostel: centrally located at the bus station, is in a converted wine warehouse. There are even a few rooms especially for smokers. Insider tip: you can book the airport bus at half price on the website. Lodging in a shared room from €18, double room from €74. 103 rooms | Store Street | Tel. 01 8 13 47 00 | Bus: Busáras, DART/Luas: Connolly Station | www.isaacs.ie

Shopping

If you want to save money, then do your shopping north of the Liffey. Department stores like Dunne’s on Henry Street sell clothing at reasonable prices while the neighbouring Moore Street Market is a good choice for groceries.

There is also the weekend market in the suburb of Blackrock on the coast south of the city. Not everything is cheap, but if you hunt around you will find some bargains: clothing, accessories, furniture and bric-a-brac. Main Street | Blackrock | Sat 11am–5.30pm, Sun 10am–5.30pm | DART: Blackrock

 

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Low Budget New York

Want to visit New York but can’t flash the cash? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips to get the best out of the Big Apple without spending a wedge:

 New York Marco Polo Guide

Free museum admission

Entry to The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free every Friday afternoon. The museum’s collection of contemporary art is phenomenal and its special exhibitions are outstanding. Many regard the museum as the world’s best because it gives the visitor a conclusive overview of 20th century art thanks to masterpieces such as Henri Matisse’s Dance, Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Opening times: Sat–Mon, Wed, Thu 10.30am–5.30pm, Fri 10.30am–6pm | 11 W 53rd St | Between 5th Ave and 6th Ave | Entrance free Fri 4pm–8pm otherwise $20 entrance fee | www.moma.org | Subway: 47th–50th St, B, D, F, M

The ferry not to be missed

Perhaps the most inexpensive experience you can have in New York is the round trip on the Staten Island Ferry. When it pulls away from the shore you get to see the full sweep of the Manhattan skyline from the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and on to New Jersey – all for free. On the other side of the ferry the view is of Brooklyn, New York City’s biggest borough.

Every 30 minutes during the day (every 15 minutes in rush hour), hourly 11.30pm–6.30am | South St/State St | Subway: South Ferry, 1 (only the first five front carriages of the train.)

Dining on a budget

City Bakery: vegetarian buffet with some innovative flavour combinations. Daily 7.30am–7pm | 3 W 18th St | Tel. 1212 3 66 14 14 | www.thecitybakery.com | Subway: 14th St–Union Square, L, N, Q, R, 4–6

Degustation: Tapas at reasonable prices. Mon–Sat evenings only | 239 E 5th St | Tel. 1212 979 10 12 | www.degustation-nyc.com | Subway: Astor Place, 6, 2nd Ave, F, M

Schnitzel & things:  This mobile food truck with its mustard coloured logo parks in a different New York street every day! For its sumptuous deepfried cod, chicken and pork chops track it down at www.schnitzelandthings.com or on Twitter. Mon-Fri between 11.30am and 2pm | Tel. 1347 7 72 73 41

Tai Thai: Authentic Thai food at Bangkok prices! 78 E 1st St | Tel. 1212 7 77 25 52 | www.taithainewyork.com | Subway: 2nd Ave, F, M

Free Concerts and Exhibitions

An excellent repertoire of jazz, world and eastern European music is on offer on the tiny stage at Barbes jazz club and bar in Brooklyn’s Park Slope – admission is free. Excellent live music, good acoustics and an eclectic mix of patrons of all ages have elevated this small gem in an excellent location in Brooklyn to cult status. 376 9th St (6th Ave) | Tel. 1347 422 02 48 | www.barbesbrooklyn.com | Subway: 7th Ave, F, G

World Financial Center – This complex of buildings on the southernmost tip of Manhattan across from Wall Street comprises office blocks, shops, apartments (Battery Park City), an imposing conservatory (Winter Garden), yacht harbour and green areas. The Winter Garden has a variety of restaurants and shops not to mention free concerts and exhibitions. Information: ‘events calendar’ of www.worldfinancialcenter.com | West St | Between Vesey St and Liberty St | Subway: Chambers St, A, C, J, M, Z, 1, 2, 3

Free tour guides

Big Apple Greeters are enthusiastic New Yorkers who volunteer to show tourists their city in their spare time – free of charge. These very personal tours through Manhattan or Brooklyn are very popular and it is a good idea to book well in advance. Tel. 1 212 6 69 81 59 | www.bigapplegreeter.org

Free Newspaper

The free weekly newspaper the Village Voice is the city’s events calendar with comprehensive arts and culture listings. Look out for the red boxes at the side of the street and in some cafés. www.villagevoice.com

Keep fit!

Even though you find yourself in the concrete jungle you can still keep fit – just remember to pack your trainers! Jogging around the reservoir running track in Central Park or through Prospect Park in Brooklyn is an experience in itself. There is also the new Hudson River Park located on Manhattan’s West Side where you can either jog, cycle or rollerblade along the waterfront all the way from the southernmost point to far north of the island. In summer you can swim for free in the municipal pools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan (www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/pools) and in winter you can go ice skating in Central and Bryant Parks and at the Rockefeller Center. Many of the parks offer free t’ai chi and yoga courses in summer. www.bryantpark.org

 

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Low Budget Copenhagen

Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but there are many ways to explore it on a budget. Here are Marco Polo’s top money-saving tips:

 Copenhagen Marco Polo Guide

 

Entertainment

Many discos and clubs entice customers on Thursdays with free admission and cheap drinks. ‘Happy Hour’ offers are available from late afternoon to early evening.

Tickets which have not been collected for performances at the Det Kongelige Teater (Royal Danish Theatre) and the Operaen (Opera House) are available half price on the day of the performance – from 4pm. You have to collect the tickets yourself, but the wait is worthwhile. Billetcenter | August Bournonvilles Passage 1 | Tel. 33 69 69 69 | 10am–9pm

The Copenhagen Jazz festival takes place every July and many of the concerts are free. The public celebration of the entire jazz spectrum is certainly a highlight in the city’s calendar.

 

Accommodation

You can’t get much cheaper than camping! (from 60 DKK): Bellahøj Camping | Hvidkildevej 66 | Tel. 38 10 11 50 | www.bellahoj-camping.dk | Bus: 2A, Rødkildevey

You’ll find a number of agencies offering bed and breakfast online (from 400 DKK), including www.net-bb.dk and www.copenhagen30.com.

The Saga Hotel has 78 rooms, which are simply furnished and most of them have their own bathroom. Families can ask for extra beds to be put in the spacious rooms. Colbjørnsgade 18–20 | Tel. 33 24 49 44 | www.sagahotel.dk/en | Bus: 1A, 5A, 6A, Main railway station

 

Shopping

Used and well-loved: find good old vinyl records or second-hand CD rarities at reasonable prices from Accord. Vestergade 37 | Bus: 10, 12, 14, 26, 29, 33, 48, 67, 68, 250S | Rådhuspladsen

For fashionistas with an eye for a bargain: half-price Danish and international designers on sale at the Langelinie outlet store. Daily 11am–6pm | Langelinie Kaj | Bus: 26, Indiakaj/Langelinie

Souvenirs: Knick-knacks and all those things you buy which you don’t actually need – for just a few krone at Søsterne Grene. Amagertorv 29 | Metro: Kongens Nytorv | Bus: 15, 19, 26, 350S, Kongens Nytorv

 

Eating Out

If you want to eat traditional Danish food on a budget, the many smørrebrød (a Danish open sandwich) takeaways offer a great alternative to gourmet cuisine. Rådhus Smørrebrød (closed Sun) | Vester Voldgade 90, Ritz Smørrebrød (closed Sat/Sun) | Vester Voldgade 8 or Centrum Smørrebrød (open daily) | Vesterbrogade 6D

Look out for the ‘All you can eat’ signs. Many restaurants offer reasonably priced lunches between noon and 4pm, especially around the university. Some of the best include: Jensens Bøfhus (Gråbrødretorv 15), Restaurant Samos (Skindergade 29) and RizRaz (Kompagnistræde 20). All are open daily | Bus: 5A, 6A, Metro: Nørreport

Café Sorgenfri: If you love classic Danish cooking then order the warm national dish Flæskesteg med rødkol (roast pork with red cabbage). The crackling here is particularly crisp! Daily | Brolæggerstræde 8 | Tel. 33 11 58 80 | www.cafesorgenfri.dk | Bus: 14, 15, Stormbroen

Ristorante Italiano: The chef prides himself on being the first pizza baker in Copenhagen. He serves up pasta and pizza at reasonable prices. In good weather there is also the option to sit outside. Daily | Fiolstræde 2 | Tel. 33 11 12 95 | Bus: 6A, Universität, Vor Frue Plads

 

Sightseeing 

The view from the Bascule bridge is just begging to be photographed: from up here you can see from the inner harbour as far as Christiansborg Slot. Once over the bridge, you are in Christianshavn – Copenhagen’s mini version of Amsterdam. There are two things here that you cannot afford to miss: the ‘free state’ of Christiania and the climb up the tower of the Vor Frelsers Kirke.

Had enough of the city? Then get down to the sea and the beach at Amager Strandpark. The sand has been piled up to create almost 5km (3 miles) of man-made beach along a lagoon – and there’s no admission charge either.

Architectural dreams in Ørestad: For some, the short journey by Metro to Ørestad is a culture shock but others are fascinated by the architecture along the overland section of the Metro line. Ørestad resembles a free open-air museum of modern architecture. The futuristic residential and office buildings seem to hail from another planet.

The state-owned museums Nationalmuseet (National Museum), Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery) and Frihedsmuseet are free. Others charge no admission fee on certain days of the week: Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek on Sundays, Thorvaldsens Museum on Wednesdays, and Dansk Design Center Wednesdays 5pm–9pm.

 

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Copenhagen Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Amsterdam

Want to visit Amsterdam on a budget? Here are Marco Polo’s top tips to explore this fascinating city without spending a fortune:

 Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide

 

Park life

People go to Vondelpark not only to find peace and quiet, but also because it’s a sociable place. All of Amsterdam comes here in summer for a picnic, to play football or to listen to one of the free concerts on the open-air stage. The Vertigo café has one of the most attractive and lively terraces in the city, and there are alternatives in the Melkhuis restaurant and ‘t Blauwe Theehuis (Blue Teahouse). Tram: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14 (Van Baerlestraat)

 

Free concerts

The lunch-time concerts in the Concertgebouw are an Amsterdam institution – and there is no admission charge. Every Wednesday (from September to May) at 12.30pm you can enjoy a rehearsal of the Concertgebouw Orchestra or listen to a half-hour concert by talented young musicians in the Recital Hall. Concertgebouwplein 2–6 | Tel. 0900 6 71 83 45 | www.concertgebouw.nl/en | Tram: 3, 5, 12, 16 (Concertgebouw)

 

Fantastic view for free

Climb up the stepped roof of the Nemo building to get a fantastic panoramic view of the old quarter of Amsterdam without paying a penny. In summer you can sit around in comfort on the beanbags of the café. Oosterdok 2 | 10 min. on foot from the main station |  www.e-nemo.nl/en/

 

Food & drink

A street stall called Vlaamse Friethuis (Voetboogstraat 31 | Tram: 1, 2, 5 Koningsplein) sells the best French fries in all of Amsterdam, which is why there is often a long queue. Choose between 20 (!) kinds of mayonnaise.

For €6 you get a whole plateful of delicacies at Kismet (Open daily | Albert Cuypstraat 64 | Tram: 16, 24: Albert Cuypmarkt), a Turkish restaurant with basic furnishings that is mainly frequented by Turks.

Soup en Zo: Soup bars are en vogue in Amsterdam. At Soup en Zo there is a choice of 15 freshly made soups in three different sizes. Open daily | Jodenbreestraat 94 a | Tel. 020 4 22 22 43 | Metro: Waterlooplein

 

Shopping 

In Dutch supermarkets exotic spices are much cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. As Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, the choice is enormous – from dried lemongrass to cumin and fenugreek.

Buy flowers and flower bulbs on the street markets that sell food! They cost half as much as on the flower market on Singel!

 

Entertainment

In the Last Minute Ticket Shop on Leidseplein, tickets for a wide range of events taking place the same evening are sold from midday onwards with discounts of up to 50%. Leidseplein/ Marnixstraat | Tram: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10 (Leidseplein)

 

Accommodation

The Hans Brinker Hotel makes no attempt to conceal that its selling point is the low price and it is aimed at young people who are in Amsterdam to enjoy the nightlife. Plain dorms, but a good location in the city centre. €21 per night in 8-bed rooms, €24 in 6-bed rooms | Kerkstraat 136–138 | Tel. 020 6 22 06 87 | www.hans-brinker.com | Tram: 1, 2,5, 6, 7, 10 Leidseplein

For the biggest range of bed & breakfast houses in Amsterdam, visit: www.bedandbreakfast.nl | From approx. €20 per person.

Bob’s Youth Hostel is in the heart of the city. It’s a stopping-off place for backpackers from all over the world and has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Dorm bed from €14 | Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 92 | Tel. 020 6 23 00 63 | Tram: 1, 2, 5, 13, 17 Dam

 

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Amsterdam Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Edinburgh

Visiting Edinburgh in style is undoubtedly expensive, however with so much natural beauty to explore and our top money saving tips – there is no need to spend a fortune. There are many cheaper options available in Edinburgh and Marco Polo has saved you the hassle of finding them…

Edinburgh Marco Polo Guide 

 

Entertainment

The Jazz Bar is more lively than any other club in town. There is free and unplugged music at the groovy cellar from Tuesday to Saturday evenings at the bar’s ‘Teatime Acoustics’ events. It has more of a buzzing and club-like atmosphere after 9pm on weekends when a DJ takes over. Teatime Acoustic Tue–Sat 6pm–8.30pm, Early Gig daily 8.30–11.30pm, Late Night live 11.30pm–3am | 1a Chambers Street | www.thejazzbar.co.uk

Students like to get together to drink and dance in the Silk Nightclub at the West End of the Old Town. Reasonable prices and drinks deals. Closed Mon, Wed, Sun | 26 Kings Stables Road | www.silknightclub.co.uk

The Cumberland Bar is the perfect place to go on a summer evening with its great pub food, eight types of ale and relaxing beer garden. 1–3 Cumberland Street.

 

Accommodation

There are a large number of hostel beds in Edinburgh. The Belford Hostel in Dean Village is a former church with a house bar, 98 dormitory beds and 7 small rooms. £18 per person per night | 6–8 Douglas Gardens | Tel. 0131 2 25 62 09

The five-star Smartcity Hostel has 630 rooms, all with a bath. It is enormous, completely modern and in the heart of the Old Town. It also has somewhere to store bicycles and luggage. From £12 per person per night | 50 Blackfriars Street | Tel. 0870 892 30 00

The Balmoral Guesthouse is a cheerful, immaculate and inexpensive guesthouse with several large rooms and only ten minutes from the West End. The Victorian house is decorated in a British style with thick carpets and papered walls. A substantial breakfast is also included in the price. 7 rooms | 34 Gilmore Place | Tel. 01312 21 13 31 | www.balmoralguesthouse.co.uk

 

Shopping

There are frequent sales on designer products in some shops – you might find a £700 Dolce & Gabbana jacket for as little as £45 at Harvey Nichols on St Andrew Square. Alternatively, simply look around Multrees Walk.

There are some cheap high-street fashion shops in New Town including Primark, New Look, and H&M and more often than not there are bargain sale items too.

 

Eating Out

There are some fish and chip shops that will make sure you don’t starve after midnight. They serve large portions and are often open until 2am. The Deep Sea opposite the Playhouse Theatre on Calton Hill is one of the best.

The service-industry capital of Scotland has become a good address for eating inexpensively at lunchtime; you can find two-course set meals from £13. There is an especially wide choice around Grassmarket and in Broughton. One of the top restaurants called The Witchery also offers two-course pre or post-theatre meals for £15.

The Olive Branch is a café-restaurant with a post-industrial design and is one of the most popular places to eat in the fashionable district of Broughton. There are very large windows in the restaurant so that customers have a perfect view of the elegant architecture in New Town. The servings are extremely generous and it is a popular place for Sunday brunch. Open daily | 2 Broughton Place | New Town | Tel. 0131 5 57 85 89 | www.theolivebranchscotland.co.uk

 

Sightseeing 

Tour of Edinburgh: You will have certainly fallen in love with Edinburgh after this three hour tour of the metropolis. The enthusiastic guides are devoted to Edinburgh and know absolutely everything about the city from haunted houses to inventions and music making. Free tours through the city start at 11am, 1pm and 3pm from Tron Kirk in the High Street. www.getyourguide.com

Secret Festival favourite: Originally, the Festival Fringe was just an offshoot of the Edinburgh International Festival. But for years now visitors have been attracted to the many free comedy and theatre performances. It is considered to be one of the world’s largest cultural events and takes place for three weeks in August. www.edfringe.com

The Parliament building: This visionary construction fits perfectly into the tightly-knit Old Town at the end of the Royal Mile. You can satisfy your curiosity about the cryptic and diverse architecture on a free tour of the building. There are also free tickets available to visit the public gallery on Thursdays, which are very popular and therefore have to be booked in advance (Tel. 0800 092 75 00).  April–Oct Mon, Fri 10am–6pm, Tue–Thu 10am–5pm, Sat, Sun 10am–4pm, Nov–March Fri–Mon 10am–4pm, Tue–Thu 9am–7pm | Free Admission | Canongate | www.scottish.parliament.uk

 

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Edinburgh Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Barcelona

Want to visit Barcelona without spending a fortune? Here are Marco Polo’s top Insider Tips:

Barcelona Marco Polo Guide 

 

Low budget dining

Narrow, crammed, noisy, hip – and unbeatable prices: the modern Old Town eatery Can Nabo serves up a daily, filling and tasty all-day menu from €4.50, including a vegetarian option. On the menu are salads, risottos, fresh pasta, homemade pizzas or cakes. Open daily | Nou de Sant Francesc, 25 | Metro: Drassanes (L3)

La Avia: Design boom and nouvelle cuisine have left no trace at this familiar Raval eatery with bohemian style. The menu features traditional Catalan dishes such as bean stew, paella or squid à la marinera with potatoes and peas at dumping prices from €3.60. Tasty homemade giant empanadas cost just €1.20. Open daily | La Cera, 33 | Tel. 9 34 42 00 97 | Metro: Sant Antoni (L2)

La Candela: Market-fresh, imaginative cuisine at reasonable prices on one of the Old Town’s most beautiful terraces, on a charming square with historic ambience. Closed Sun | Plaça de Sant Pere, 12 | Tel. 9 33 10 62 42 | Metro: Arc de Triomf (L1)

Not pretty, but incredibly good value: near the Rambla, Romesco offers hearty fare: chicken with a side (€3.90), hake or cutlets (€4.90) and soups (€2.60). Closed Sun | Sant Pau, 28 | Tel. 9 33 18 93 81 | Metro: Liceu (L3)

 

Shopping on a shoestring

The outlet of the world-famous Catalan fashion chain Mango allows you to put together an entire new outfit for very little money. Carrer Girona, 37 | www.mango shop.com | Metro: Urquinaona (L1, L4)

Muy Mucho offers a large selection of trendy styled presents and decoration items, and no-one would guess how little they actually cost. Small pretty items start at €2–3. Rambla de Catalunya, 35 | Metro: Passeig de Gràcia (L3, L4)

 

Drinking and partying on a budget

Can Paixano: This is how you’d imagine a cosy tavern in the port area – hams hang from the ceiling beams and the walls are decoratively yellowed. Drinks are taken standing up, there are no chairs. House cava at rock-bottom prices of €0.80–1.20 per glass. Open Mon–Sat 9am–10.30pm | Reina Cristina, 7 | www.canpaixano.com | Metro: Barceloneta (L4)

You’ll be glad to hear that there’s a way to party away in the hippest clubs in town, such as the Shoko – for free! All you have to do is get onto the right guest list: one of the most popular is Shaz’s guest list: www.barcelonaparties.com. Watch out though: the invites are only valid for that specific time – latecomers have to pay up to €20. So get in line in good time, as long queues will form.

 

Cheap Accommodation

€19–25 is the price for double rooms (some en-suite) in the Garden House, a stately fin-de-siècle villa in the green residential quarter of Horta, only five minutes from the nearest Metro station. Garden, roof terrace, cosy lobby, guest kitchen. Familiar, easy-going atmosphere. Rooms are light and spacious. Bed linen, towels and WiFi are free, and there are women-only rooms too. 56 beds | Hedilla, 58 | Tel. 9 34 27 24 79 | www.feetuphostels.com | Metro: Valldaura (L3)

Hostal Girona is a friendly family-run guesthouse in a stately Art Nouveau building: original mosaic floors, stucco ceilings and furnishings with the charm of times past. The rooms vary in size (doubles €45–62), are renovated, have modern bathrooms, heating, air-conditioning and plasma screens; some have balconies. Rooms with windows facing onto the patio are quieter. 27 rooms | Girona, 24 | Tel. 9 32 65 02 59 | Metro: Urquinaona (L1, L4)

 

Free art exhibition

Take a look behind the scenes in Antoni Gaudí’s famous residential building, the Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera). To get to the free changing exhibitions on the first floor, take the unique ‘snail’ staircase – saving the entrance fee. Open March–Oct daily 9am–8pm, Nov–Feb daily 9am–6.30pm | admission €11, changing exhibition on first floor free of charge | Passeig de Gràcia, 92 | www.lapedrera.com/en/home | Metro: Diagonal (L3, L5)

 

Picasso on a Sunday

A number of museums open their doors for free on Sunday afternoons from 3pm; amongst them the Museu Picasso (www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en), the most visited museum in Barcelona and the Museu d’Història. If you choose the first Sunday in the month for your visit, you’ll have all day to explore for free.

 

Music by master-class students

Whether you’re into early music, classical or jazz: listening to the pupils and master-class students of the Catalan conservatory at their rehearsals in the auditorium is usually free. Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya | Padilla, 155 | Tel. 9 33 52 30 11 | www.esmuc.cat/eng | Metro: Glòries (L1)

 

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Barcelona Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Budapest

Explore Budapest’s culture and exceptional beauty on a budget with Marco Polo’s top money saving tips:

 Budapest Marco Polo Guide

 

Sightseeing

EU citizens can visit the Hungarian Parliament Building for free. The enormous structure is very aesthetically pleasing and says a lot about the state of the Hungarian national pride at the time it was built. The building, which took over 100 years to build, compromises of 27 gates, 29 staircases and almost 700 rooms. The architecture is of a gothic revival style and was partly inspired by the Houses of Parliament in London. Tickets from ticket offices | V, Kossuth Lajos tér | Tel. 1 4 41 49 04 | Underground 2: Kossuth Lajos tér | Tram 2

The car-free Margaret Island is a leisure space in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest that costs precisely nothing to visit. The island, which is 2.5km long by less than 500m across, is the city’s most popular recreational space. It is a lovely place to have a picnic and the paths and gardens are perfect for extended walks. Some pretty destinations in the northern part of the island are the water tower and the Japanese garden. It is worth lingering by the fountain to see the water show accompanied by classical music, which takes place every quarter of an hour. Music can also be heard at the fountain in the northern Japanese garden (every hour on the hour). Trams 4, 6 (Margaret Bridge) | Buses 26, 34, 106 (Árpád Bridge)

Fisherman’s Bastion: Situated high up above the Danube on Castle Hill, this famous terrace provides a magnificent view of the city that can enjoyed for free. The neo-romanesque complex with its walkways, archways and towers, was built at the end of the 19th century. The name ‘Fisherman’s Bastion’ is a reminder of the fact that there were once defensive walls here that were secured and defended by the guild of fishermen. I, Szentháromság tér | Bus 16 (Castle bus/Várbusz)

 

Eating Out

In the Great Market Hall (1st floor) you can buy delicious savoury or sweet langós for €2 (flat bread made from a yeast-potato dough.) IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

Only a stone’s throw from Liszt Ferenc tér is Kiadó. It has a nice pub atmosphere and offers tasty dishes for between €3 and €6. Daily from 9am | VI, Jókai tér 3 | Tel. 1 3 31 19 55 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Menza is a restaurant that merges downtown sophistication with the relaxed atmosphere of a 1960s coffee bar. The diverse menu lists many soups and salads and offers many main dishes including: penne, lángos (deep fried flat bread), duck and goose liver. There are also many inexpensive daily specials. Open daily | VI, Liszt Ferenc tér 2 | Tel. 1 4 13 14 82 | Underground 1: Oktogon

 

Shopping

Lovers of crystals will find them for reasonable prices at Ajka Kristály.

If you enjoy shopping for handicrafts and embroidered pieces such as tablecloths, you will find them at the Folkart Centrum for less.

Haggle for food and souvenirs at the Great Market Hall, which has a huge variety of stalls and offers competitive prices. IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

 

Entertainment

You can get tickets for the Opera House for between €3.20 to €4.40 if you’re willing to sit up in “the gods”.

There are cheap tickets available for the operetta theatre with prices ranging from €3.60 to €10 euros, depending on the performance. You can’t see the entire stage from these seats, however there is still a good view.

There is a big firework display over the Citadel on the evening of August the 20th. On this day the whole of Budapest is transformed into one big party.

 

Accommodation 

The good location and special discounts make Hotel Medosz a popular place to stay. Students up to the age of 18, accompanying parents and pensioners get a 10% discount. With the 10% discount it costs approximately €54-60 euros for a double room, which includes a buffet breakfast. 70 rooms | VI, Jókai tér | Tel. 1 3 74 30 00 | Trams 4, 6 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Ibis Centrum: The service and the entire ambience of this hotel in the Ráday utca pedestrian zone is very friendly. It’s also excellent value for money. 126 rooms | IX, Ráday utca 6 | Tel. 1 4 56 41 00 | Underground 3: Kálvin tér

 

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Budapest Marco Polo Guide

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